May 10, 2011

Episode Review: GLEE, "Prom Queen"

I'm usually not a fan when Glee focuses too much on the relationship oriented drama, so in theory I shouldn't have liked the idea of an episode that used prom as a setting. Yes, a lot of the characters got unnecessarily over emotional, and there may have been a smidge more shipper angst than I would have preferred, but there were also enough funny and sweet moments to make up for all of the crying and bitch-slapping that went on during "Prom Queen".

The episode kicked off with Figgins recruiting New Directions to perform at prom since Air Supply backed out. Since Will still needed to raise money for the trip to Nationals, he begrudgingly accepted the offer, which caused some stress for some glee clubbers, specifically Mercedes since she did not have a date. Since Rachel also was date-less, she decided to ask Sam to take both of them, and she even came up with a way to do it on the cheap. Sam agreed, but the threesome became a foursome once Jesse St. James made his return to Lima. The re-emergence of St. Berry of course bothered Finn, which threw a wrench in Quinn's plans for prom dominance, after he was kicked out for picking a fight with the mighty Groff.

The Finn/Quinn/Rachel/Jesse/Sam/Mercedes storyline caused some mixed emotions for me because it focused too much time on the drama and not enough time on the sweeter moments. Example, once Jesse showed up, the point of the story shifted from Mercedes, Rachel, and Sam going to prom together to the on-going love triangle that we've spent close to two years on. I get that the Finn/Rachel relationship is one of the driving forces of the show, but it's starting to take up too much time and energy, and it's becoming more of a hindrance than anything. What bummed me out even more was the fact that we really could have gotten some great moments for both Sam and Mercedes, but of course their spotlight had to be stolen by Finchel. Don't get me started on Quinn and Rachel's blow up in the bathroom; I'll never quite get those two.

Other prom-related drama revolved around Kurt, Santana, and Karofsky. Now that he's back at McKinley, he wanted to be out and proud, and decided to ask Blaine to prom, and he reluctantly agreed to go with him. After a relatively tame prom experience, we got a big twist when it was announced that Dave was crowed King while Kurt was named Queen. Kurt was understandably upset about the whole ordeal, but was reassured by his knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, Karofsky was not confident enough to dance with Kurt in front of the entire school. The king and queen decision also upset Santana, who did not understand why she didn't win, and Brittany told her it was not because she's a lesbian but because everyone knew she wasn't being herself.

Now, I didn't get caught up in the whole prom queen spoiler-gate when it broke a few weeks ago, so I didn't know that Kurt was going to win, but I did question the decision. I kind of got that the whole thing was supposed to start out as a joke, which led to Kurt standing up to everyone in the crowd, but the moment didn't feel like it was earned. First off, it's hard to believe that the entire school would be in on this big scheme to humiliate Kurt when he hasn't been at McKinley for most of the year, and it's not like he was a major player before he bolted for Dalton. Also, the whole stunt just felt false and heavy handed to begin with, so his crowning just didn't make sense. That being said, Chris Colfer, Max Adler, and Darren Criss acted the heck out of their scenes. The lone bright spot of the King & Queen plot was the sweet moment between Santana and Brittany, and I wished they had spent more time on them then on the prom queen fiasco.

Speaking of Brittany, she also had a minor storyline going on as Artie tried to win her back after calling her stupid. Fortunately, she wasn't so stupid that she didn't just fall for his serenade during home ec class, and decided to focus herself while dancing with everyone else's dates. With his plot to win Brittany back failed, Artie ended up joining Puck's crusade to spike the punchbowl so the latter could reclaim the badass status he lost once Lauren tamed the Puckosaurus.

The two side-stories had their fun moments, I really liked Artie's song for Brittany, but ultimately they weren't developed enough to make any real impact. The thing is, all four characters and their relationships should get some time devoted to them, and those stories could be interesting, but tacking them onto an already stuffed episode wasn't the best idea. It also didn't help that Sue sucked all the life out of the room when she interrogated Artie.

On the Music Front:
"Prom Queen" had some interesting song choices, but I thought they worked for the most part. "Rollin in the Deep" was a great way to bring Jesse back, and the duo did an admirable job covering a song that must think was uncoverable. "Isn't She Lovely" was a great moment for Artie, although he still doesn't deserve her. All of the prom songs were OK, but the standout was "Friday" since the boys' performance was so tongue-in-cheek. I guess the fact that I didn't hear the original before tonight didn't get in the way of the joke. I don't know if I would've gone with "Dancing Queen" as the final number, but oh well.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Glee went all meta again by pointing out former New Directions disasters: "Run Joey Run" and "Crazy In Love/Hair".
  • They brought back the taffy-selling idea. Who says this show just drops plot points?
  • Having the Audio Visual Club sing back-up during Rachel and Jesse's version of "Rolling in the Deep" was a neat trick.
  • So, Jesse flunked out of college?
  • Another Glee Meta Moment: Pointing out the confusion about Jesse's actions at the end of last season.
  • Rachel helping Finn with Quinn's corsage was sweet and sad all at the same time.
  • Too many great Brittany one-liners tonight.
  • I'm starting to like the makeshift troubadours that follow Artie around.
  • Sam resting his head on the Home Ec teacher's shoulder = precious.
  • The scene between Kurt and Dave in the hallway was brilliant.
  • While I'm not going to be rooting for a Sam/Mercedes pairing, their moments together were the best of the entire episode.
  • Thanks to the few scenes he got tonight, and in combination with last week's storyline, Sam's becoming one of my favorite characters. I hope Chord Overstreet isn't replaced by Darren Criss next season.
  • Worst Prom Fight ever!
  • The Crying Diva Split-screen didn't work as well as the director thought it would.
  • Brittany's gone from a one-note joke to one of the deepest characters on the show.
  • "I'm not scared. I've been hit by a girl before."
  • "So? I don't have a date. I'm just going to dance, and then all your dates are going to ignore you and come dance with me. So, your dates are really my dates."
  • "Kind of like a three-way date, but not the dirty kind."
  • "I look like a lemon marangue pie." "I think you look delicious."
  • "Go with God, Satan...Santana."
  • "I just assumed it would be like at Carmel and the school would get an Asian kid to take math, and English, and scientific for me."
  • "Oh my God."
  • "I'm going to go to prom by myself, and really work on me, and dance with other people's dates."
  • "Dude, that rocks. It's like Gay Braveheart."
  • "I don't know why, or even what a recession is, but it's my understanding that we're in one." "He's so smart. I can't believe he flunked out of college."
  • "Best. Prom. Ever!"
  • "You're a very pretty girl Quinn. The prettiest girl I've ever met, but you're a lot more than that."
  • "Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton."
While there was too much relationship nonsense going on during "Prom Queen", which pushed aside the opportunity to flesh out some of background characters, I still laughed more than I rolled my eyes, so that worked in the episode's favor. Plus, any episode that brings back Jesse St. James, even if he was misused, cannot be all that bad. Now can we get on to Nationals...pretty please?


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